There isn’t many bad things about long haul travel but one of the worst is Jet lag. I’ve been flying backward and forwards from the UK to Australia every year for the past 10 years and every single time the lag has got me. You’d think I’d be a pro at dealing with it. I’m not, but whilst I do get affected I have also learnt some lessons about how to minimise it.
Here is my top 5 tips
If you can, try and land at night as this has always made things much easier for me. You can go straight to sleep and wake up in the morning to try and get into the new daily cycle. If you land in the day then make sure you get outside. Now this is the somewhat tricky part as you need to stay awake as long as you can. Ideally till when you would usually go to sleep. One time we were on the ferry in Sydney Harbour and the lag hit us like a lead balloon and we kept falling asleep on the ferry. Proper head bobbing, snoring sleeping. We swiftly had to make our way back to the apartment. My dad has also been known in the past to hit a saucepan with a wooden spoon loudly if we were falling asleep to early in the afternoon.
Comfy and hydrated on the flight Yes you’ll need to have your pre flight pint (or for the more classy travellers a glass of wine) at the airport before you depart but whilst you’re on the plane make sure you drink as much water as you can. Skip drinking countless alcoholic beverages and stick to the soft stuff. When on the flight ensure you are comfy which can be difficult when in economy. I like comfy trousers, layers, socks and even a scarf and woolie hat. Try and find a position that works for you to sleep. Ideally not on another passenger’s shoulder.
Time activities and change your watch on the flight This is something my partner has started doing on our flights in the last few years. He works out what times we need to sleep and how much sleep we should aim for whilst on each of the flight. We also change our watches to our destination’s time zone so that we start to trick our body like we are already there. I used to think the more sleep the better but now I know better and it’s more about sleeping at the right times. I usually plan for a certain amount of film time but also like to take a book and notepad and pen. I find starting at a screen for so long can actually keep me away whereas I start reading a book and I drift off without any hassle.
If you have a long stop over book a room We had a long stopover in KL a few years ago so we found the hotel in the airport and booked a room. Now you do have to book them for a set number of hours which can feel a little seedy but it’s not like that at all. The joy of being able to lie down on actual bed is bliss! You can sleep, shower and just enjoy a couple of hours on your own without a whole flight or airport full of people. Just make sure you set an alarm or schedule a wake up call so you don’t miss your flight.
If you wake up early get up explore
If your body wakes up and refuses to go back to sleep then don’t lie there staring at your phone or in my case eat a whole bag of very noisy twisties while your sister is trying to sleep on the bunk beneath you. Get up and get outside. You’ll be starting to drift off come 4pm so get out and make the most of the day. Some of my best experiences have been in the early hours of the morning- 5am run along the Cairns Promenade, beach walks with the boy on the Gold Coast, wandering around Darling Harbour without all the tourists or even seeing that New York really does not ever sleep!
I know there is a lot more tips and tricks but these are the ones that help me. What are some of your best ways in dealing with the dreaded lag?